Posts Tagged ‘hospital’

Lessons in Childbirth Education

July 6, 2012

Thank you again to Milon Nagi – writer, blogger, workshop facilitator and overall awesome volunteer for Choices in Childbirth!

At our latest Healthy Birth Choices workshop, three sets of new parents shared their experience of Childbirth Education and spoke of how their classes prepared them for labor and birth. Shara Frederick, doula and childbirth educator, gave us an introduction to some of the main schools of childbirth education – Lamaze, Bradley, CEAMNY and Birthing From Within. While the various schools have individual approaches, all are grounded in the idea that birth is a normal physiological process.  All aim to educate expectant parents about this process and help them prepare for their own experience of childbirth. We were also joined by Dr Charles Swencionis, psychologist and Hypnobirthing instructor, who led us through a sample self-hypnosis exercise. Hypnobirthing particularly emphasizes learning to relax and decondition from fear, he told us. Fear causes tension, which causes pain. If we can relax it can ease some of the physical sources of pain in childbirth.

Michelle was planning a home birth in Queens, but, on her midwife’s recommendation, she and her husband decided to take a Home Birth class based in Brooklyn. “It was good to be among others who were also preparing for home birth and who weren’t weirded out by it”, she said. They found their classmates had interesting perspectives and questions they themselves may not have thought of. The class gave her husband “the bullet points” of what to expect and helped him feel more comfortable with them. He felt the class brought him a kind of confidence about birth that he did not get from reading books.  Once the time arrived, he said, “I just felt like we kind of had this.”



Hurry! Last 2 days to be listed in the New York Guide to a Healthy Birth!

April 8, 2010

If you are a Mother-Friendly Provider who serves the women and families in the greater New York City area you could be part of the 5th edition of the New York Guide to a Healthy Birth!

The Guide to a Healthy Birth is a free resource published annually by Choices in Childbirth for new and expectant parents that provides information about women’s rights and options in childbearing, articles by esteemed birth professionals, support for finding Mother-Friendly care, and so much more.

In addition to the great resources, the Guide also lists a local directory of professionals in the New York Area who practice Mother-Friendly care. Become part of this local network of over 140 providers in a wide range of categories from Accupuncture to Yoga, Midwifery to Childbirth Education, Doulas to Breastfeeding Support, and everything in between!

Visit to create your profile today.

In addition to the provider directory, we also have opportunities for businesses who serve parenting New Yorkers. If you would like to place a 1/3 page display ad in the printed Guide – register here. For less than $6 per week you can include your ad in our annual publication that reaches over 20,000 new and expectant parents in New York!

Birth in the Media

December 3, 2009

Thinking about the recent GRITtv interview, “The Other Side of Choice: Giving Birth in America” brings about another important and seldom talked about issue in childbirth advocacy: Birth in the Media.

It is refreshing to see the media telling the full story about the options that are available to women in their maternity care. All too often the choices women make and their views of birth are “manufactured” by the ideas that are presented in the media. The media dramatizes birth and tends to steer women towards a particular belief about birth. These instilled ideas about birth then go on to influence the way that women approach their own birth.

The media portrays birth as a dangerous, scary event that happens in a hospital. Consider for a moment: how often has the average Jane seen birth portrayed as anything other than a scared woman being rushed in on a gurney screaming her head off and cursing out her partner on some TV show? Most women don’t give birth at home anymore, so we wouldn’t see birth there; hospitals limit the number of people who can be present during birth, so you’re unlikely to see it there; and sex-ed is nearly non-existent in schools today… so where else would you see birth except in the media? (If you want to see the other side of birth, by the way, check out Debra Pascali-Bonaro’s film, Orgasmic Birth.)

Even media outlets that supposedly provide factual and balanced reports, like the Today Show, have succumbed to fear-mongering and misrepresenting the truth when it comes to birth. Just this fall, the Today Show ran a poorly researched and deeply biased segment entitled “The Perils of Midwifery” that portrayed homebirth and midwife-attended birth as dangerous and even hedonistic. This report blatantly ignored ample research demonstrating the safety of midwife-attended homebirth in the US and around the world.

Reports like these intensify the portrayal of birth as dangerous, and scare women away from wholistic, natural care in their pregnancy in favor of the medicalized style of birth. Don’t get me wrong, I think that having OBs available in a medical emergency is an amazing achievement in maternity care and undoubtedly saves thousands of lives in emergency settings. But it is important to remember that OBs are surgeons, and they are trained to think like surgeons. They are trained to look for problems and try to fix them or minimize them, often with medical interventions. The Midwives Model of Care, on the other hand, looks at birth as “normal until it’s not” and customizes care that treats each individual as a unique part of the broader spectrum of natural birth–and has safeguards in place to bring in other OBs or consults as necessary.

Ultimately, where a women births and with whom should be her own decision, and she should be supported regardless of what that choice is. It is appalling that the media has so clouded the issue by representing only one segment of the choices available to women.

I applaud media outlets like GRITtv who are finally shedding light on the “Other Side of Choice.”